An excess of signification: Or, what is an event?

Garnet C. Butchart, University of South Florida


This article offers a comparative analysis of the concept of the event in the philosophy of Jean-Luc Marion and Alain Badiou. Phenomenological and psychoanalytic approaches are brought together to describe how the event poses a limit problem to signifying mediation. A case study of visibility in painting is offered to illustrate how an event cannot be shown, but must show itself in excess of symbolizing practices. The article concludes by evaluating the analytic importance of this concept for critical research across the arts, media, and communication studies.